We owe it to each other to tell stories - Neil Gaiman

Friday, 10 June 2011

The Color Purple - Alice Walker

When I ordered my copy of the Colour Purple, I thought that one of these would arrive.

But, when I went to fetch my copy at Bargain Books, I was taken aback by the appearance of the cover of my copy. I did not understand it at first, and mulled it over for a while, but it only really came to me when I read my copy of The Color Purple. The Color Purple is essentially a diary telling us about Celie's experiences. At first the diary entries are written to God, but then the diary entries are written to her sister Nettie. It was a real "Ah Hah" moment for me when that finally made sense. Here are some photos of my copy of The Color Purple:

The Synopsis:

Set i
n the deep American South between the wars, it is the story of Celie. a young black girl, born into poverty and segregation. Raped repeatedly by the man she calls 'father', she is seperated from two children and then entrapped by a husband who treats her no better than a slave.

But then she meets the glamorous Shug Avery, singer and magic-maker: a woman who has taken charge of her own destiny. Gradually Celie discovers the power and joy of her own spirit, freeing her from the past and reuniting her with those she loves.


The Review:

This was my second read of the Color Purple, and it was just as profound a read as when I read it the first time. It was such a coincidence that two days after I read The Color Purple, the episode of Oprah with The Color Purple reunion aired here in South Africa. I loved being able to see parts of the movie again which just reaffirmed for me how I felt when reading that the book was written for the actors chosen to portray the characters from this magnificent book. I cannot imagine anyone else but Oprah Winfrey playing Sophia, or anyone else but Whoopi Goldberg playing Celie. These characters were written for them. Another reason why I am glad to have seen this episode and certain parts of the movie is that I don't know if I can sit through watching it again because it just makes me feel too much. It is always easier for me to read a book portraying the subject matter dealt with in The Color Purple than it is for me to watch a movie and be forced to confront the sexual, physical and emotional abuse. But enough about the movie and onto this beautiful novel.

But before I give my thoughts on it, I would like to share a quote that is at the back of my copy of The Color Purple:

If you are not touched by this book you can't be touched. Not a word is wasted, every breath is accounted for. We all know this is one of the greatest books of all time. Benjamin Zephaniah.

And now for my review:

The Color Purple is a beautiful novel, and it handles such delicate subject matter in such an incredible way. It is an incredibly sad story, but at least it has a happy ending, because other wise it would just be unbearable. I love that this book is so brutally honest with the subject matter that it deals with because so often stories like this are under rug swept. I love that this book is from the perspective of a woman who sees and experiences all the injustices that women experienced so frequently in the time which the novel was set, and which women still experience today. The way that Alice Walker captures the emotions is flawless and just so beautiful. This is a book that all feminists have to read.

It is quite difficult to write a review for The Color Purple that does this amazing book justice - I will then refer you again to the quote that I gave above, because nothing does this phenomenal book more justice than this quote. If you have not read The Color Purple before then you are doing yourself and this book an injustice, so go and read it now.

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